3.9 Land and Environment Research Questions

The questions below apply specifically to the questions raised in the Land and Environment Chapter for the Highland region.

Many research questions from the original National ScARF and other regional research frameworks are also relevant and applicable in the Highlands. These will soon be all be searchable and available all together through our new digital platform facility.

Environmental

HARF Qu 3.2: Can we determine what were natural and what were human impacts to changes in woodland over time?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.3: What were the major woodland types growing on mineral soils (as disctinct from peats) and how did they change?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.4: How much primary woodland remained unaltered by people in different areas and times?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.5: How did industries and activities requiring large amounts of charcoal affect the woodland management?

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Investigate evidence of woodland management through the ages. Industries or activities which require large amounts of charcoal (for example iron smelting or burnt mounds) could be investigated as the Highlands have large numbers of sites which could be targeted to show whether coppicing or large scale felling was taking place. The Highlands have many potential sites. 
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.6: Were people selecting certain woods for certain purposes?

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For example, is there evidence apart from Ness Gap in the Highlands that certain wood species were used for cremations?
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.7: What was the impact of human activity on vegetation?

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While much work has been done on climate, more work on the local impacts on vegetation are needed. Sites near human activity should be chosen. Ideally this could be focused glen by glen, with close radiocarbon dating to identify breaks in the sequence and subtle changes. Attention needs to be focused on human responses, again requiring close dating. What changes were caused by climate and which by human activity? In this way regional pictures can be assembled. 
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.8: Were rates of change of soil conditions uniform or did they differ between landscape types?

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eg from hill-land to coastal plain
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.9: What was the cause and effect relationship of peat growth and spread?

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We need to have far greater data on the dates for peat growth, including on tilled land. We need to fully understand farming practice immediately prior to peat over-growth of tilled land, and those who are growing on peat.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.10: What was the extent and consequence of peat loss?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.11: What were the processes of sediment accretion (burying of archaeological assets by later sediments) and erosion (loss of archaeological assets)

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This will help us to better understand gaps in the archaeological record
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.12: How has the natural world taken over cultivation areas after abandonment, for example after Bronze Age abandonment? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.14: Was land-use behaviour uniform or were there successful farmers and failures?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.15: How did human behaviour relate to or cause soil erosion?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

Multiperiod Settlement

HARF Qu 3.16: Are settlement patterns just a reaction to the geography of the area or did human decision-taking skew the pattern? Are there for instance glens which offer normal settlement locations which are not settled?

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A landscape, multidisciplinary approach integrating historical sources where available is needed to gain a better understanding of the patterning of settlement within the changing climates and relative to natural and seasonal resources.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.18: When were the uplands first colonised in the Highlands?

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Widespread environmental data is needed, especially for periods such as the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Early Medieval and Medieval periods where settlement evidence is sparse.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.19: How far back can we identify shielings in the Highlands, and did they vary in form and materials chronologically and regionally? 

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Further investigation of seasonal occupation is needed, which will depend on good environmental multi-proxy investigations combined with good dating. 
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.20: Did the Highlands have crannogs in the Neolithic or Bronze Age? Were they commonly built post Iron Age? 

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Further work is needed on Highland crannogs (see Iron Age research questions, 7.9), and in particular to trace their chronological and geographical spread.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.21: Why are domestic or ritual sites located where we find them? 

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There is a need to reconstruct much more credible and nuanced landscapes through collaborative projects involving archaeologists, geologists, soil scientists, ecologists and palynologists, historians and ethnologists to broaden and deepen our understanding of the landuse capability of the Highlands
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.22: How much has evidence has been removed by subsequent landuse and natural erosion or buried by sedimentation? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.23: Where should we prospect for eroded, buried sites or sites that we do not yet recognise or are too ephemeral for tradiaitonal non-invasive survey techniques? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.24: What was the interrelationship with the wild space and how did this change through time egg through woodland changes? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.25: How did architecture and landuse vary in space and time through the various natural landscapes of the region? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.26: Can we identify the full chain of production, acquisition and use of farmland soils? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.27: How far back can we identify infield and outfield divisions, territorial markers and built boundaries? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.28: Can we identify any parts of the Highlands which were devoid of people, mapping this through time? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.29: Can we identify lowland and upland contrasts in settlement and agricultural practices? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.30: What were the processes and the resulting sediments from building abandonment? 

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.31: How did buildings change in function and form through time?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.32: How were building materials acquired and used through time?

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Relate building materials to surviving evidence, including pollen evidence. 
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.33: How were roofs were raised and maintained?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.34: What was the experience of living in different types of buildings, and the cultural and social associations with them?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.35: Were other houses or buildings found in the Highlands in periods where the ubiquitous roundhouse dominates?

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Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.36: When and where were certain crops such as wheat, spelt and rye introduced, and can any regional and chronological trends be discerned for the Highlands? How does this compare elsewhere? 

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Further work gathering pollen information into crops grown is needed, pulling together previous information and targeting gaps.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.37: When and where can changes in barley be traced? 

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Further work gathering pollen information into crops grown is needed, pulling together previous information and targeting gaps.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

Daily Life

HARF Qu 3.38: What materials were used for fishing nets?

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Attention is needed on fishing through the ages, from domestic to industrial use, and its importance to local populations.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.39: What wood was preferred for yairs and cruives, and how does this relate to woodland management? 

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Attention is needed on fishing through the ages, from domestic to industrial use, and its importance to local populations.
Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

HARF Qu 3.40: How did past peoples owned things, land and slaves?  

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This may vary chronologically and geographically. There are issues that very probably were significant factors in the lives of past peoples throughout the ages that remain beyond our current research capacity but which should remain on our list of ambitions: 

Status:
Active
Authority to change status:
Date accepted:
01/09/2021
Date of next review:
01/09/2024
Found in the following Frameworks:
The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

Are there research questions that you think are missing?

Why not add your comment below which will be flagged to ScARF (or get in touch with ScARF directly) and new questions will be considered for addition at the next revision.